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Posted at 11:00 AM ET, 07/07/2011

Eliot Spitzer signs off as CNN scrubs ‘In the Arena’ [VIDEO]


Former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer (Steven Senne - AP)

UPDATE: Eliot Spitzer signed off as host of CNN”s “In the Arena” Wednesday by reading a quote from Teddy Roosevelt — perhaps explaining why CNN decided it would do better with Anderson Cooper in the 8 o’clock timeslot.

Earlier in the day, CNN announced that Eliot Spitzer’s “In the Arena” wasout of business, after the cable news network gave the Gov the hook. CNN has decided to deploy Anderson Cooper to the 8 p.m. timeslot in hopes he can gin up an audience for the network’s struggling 9 p.m. Larry King replacement show,  “Piers Morgan Tonight.”

 “AC360” debuts in its new timeslot on Aug. 8; it will run again at 10. In late September, CNN will add a new show anchored by Erin Burnett -- former co-anchor of CNBC’s ‘Squawk on the Street” and “Street Signs” -- at 7 and 11. “John King USA” and “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer” will both be broadcast one hour earlier, at 6p and 4p, respectively. At the epicenter of this whirlpool of scheduling moves,  “Piers Morgan Tonight” will stay put at 9 p.m.

“Today we are announcing a new evening line-up that showcases our journalism, and further differentiates and distinguishes CNN,” CNN/U.S. chief Ken Jautz said Wednesday in a memo to staffers.

And so ends the cable news network’s attempt to bolster its primetime ratings by dipping its parched tongue into the restorative waters of ideological debate TV that has done so much for the ratings of rivals Fox News and MSNBC.

 Back in June of ’10, CNN announced Spitzer, the disgraced/rehabbed former governor and New York Democrat, would be joined by Pulitzer Prize-winning conservative columnist Kathleen Parker – a Washington Post columnist and member of The Washington Post Writers Group – for a new program called “Parker Spitzer.” That announcement was made by then CNN president Jon Klein – who, ironically, was given the hook before the show actually debuted.

 The show did poorly in the ratings; CNN cut bait on Parker in late February – because low ratings are always the chick’s fault in the news biz – and gave Spitzer his own show, called “In the Arena.” Which also fared poorly and which, on Wednesday, became Out of Time.

 In his memo to staff Wednesday, Jautz said they are in discussions with Spitzer about an “alternative role.”

 News flash: “I’m looking forward to the new time slot and am excited to share AC360 with a new audience at 8pm, while still connecting with my regular viewers at 10pm,” Anderson Cooper said Wednesday in CNN’s announcement. If Blitzer and King had anything to say about their timeslot changes, CNN did not feel they merited inclusion in the announcement.

HERE IS SPITZER’S SIGN-OFF:

 And, here’s the original promo for “Parker Spitzer”:

By  |  11:00 AM ET, 07/07/2011

 
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